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Former DHS inspector general pleads guilty to stealing government software

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REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang

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  • Charles Edwards admitted to stealing case-management software
  • Edwards was acting inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security from 2011 to 2013

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(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's former top watchdog official pleaded guilty Friday to allegations that he stole DHS software and databases with sensitive employee information for his private business.

Charles K. Edwards, 61, admitted in Washington, D.C., federal court to the theft of confidential and proprietary software from the U.S. government, the Justice Department said.

Edwards, who served as the acting inspector general at DHS from 2011 to 2013, was charged in 2020 with taking DHS case-management software to use as a model for his company, Delta Business Solutions, to develop and sell an enhanced version to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Edwards was also accused of stealing databases with personally identifiable information about employees at DHS and the U.S. Postal Service, where he had also worked.

His attorney Jonathan Jeffress of KaiserDillon said in an email Friday that Edwards was trying to build a better system for the government, but he "understands that his possession of the system and the sensitive data within it as a private citizen was inappropriate" and "sincerely regrets his error in judgment."

Edwards' indictment had also accused him of identity theft, wire fraud and other charges that Jeffress said are being dismissed.

The Justice Department said in press release that Edwards will be sentenced at a later date. U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss is presiding over the case.

Murali Venkata, 56, a subordinate of Edwards who allegedly conspired with him, has pleaded not guilty.

DOJ declined to comment on the case.

The case is United States v. Edwards, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 1:20-cr-00066.

For Edwards: Jonathan Jeffress of KaiserDillon

For the U.S.: Victor Salgado of the Justice Department

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Ex-inspector general at U.S. Department of Homeland Security indicted for stealing government property

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Washington-based correspondent covering court cases, trends, and other developments in intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Previous experience at Bloomberg Law, Thomson Reuters Practical Law and work as an attorney.

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